Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-11-2023

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychological Sciences

Advisor(s)

Dr. Trevor Stokes

Dr. Krisztina V. Jakobsen

Dr. Tracy E. Zinn

Abstract

The present study investigated the stability of preferences over time using an alternating treatment multielement design across participants. The participants were children between the ages of eight and twelve with developmental disabilities, who also displayed interfering behaviors. The study had a baseline condition and two experimental conditions. During the first condition, the therapist provided contingent reinforcement for correct responses during reinforcer evaluations using highest preferred items. During the second condition, the therapist provided contingent reinforcement for correct responses during reinforcer evaluations using least preferred items. Repeated measures of free-operant preference assessments produced participants’ preference rankings, thus identifying highest and least preferred items to be used during the reinforcer evaluations. This study identified that preferences remained stable for four and a half weeks on average, across both participants. It also identified that as preferences became unstable, the participants’ performance decreased during the highest preferred reinforcer evaluation condition and/or increased during the least preferred reinforcer evaluation condition.

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